Scandals Signal The Demise of Our Financial System
Criminality reigns and the games go on. We recently saw the games of fraud explicitly displayed by the antics of Lehman Bros. They kept bad assets off the books by dumping them into what is now known as swap 105’s. What is stunning is the SEC was on the scene and new exactly what was going on; as did the NY Fed, guided by our current Treasury Secretary tax cheat Tim Geithner.
Not only are toxic CDOs, ABS and MBS selling for $0.05 to $0.65 on the dollar, but also it has been discovered that many of these bonds did not contain a full measure of mortgages. Most were shortchanged by 5%. The syndicators, mostly brokerage houses, were not happy making obscene profits; they had to cheat the buyer on the sale. The SEC knew this and did nothing about it – as always in the back pocket of major Wall Street firms.
Debt continues to hang over nations in staggering amounts. Those colossal inconceivable sums have to be financed along with new pyramiding commitments, as welfare states continue to expand. This year some $2 trillion must be found and over the next ten years an average of $300 billion must be found each year, just for the US. That is only the existing debt rollover. This year’s fiscal deficit should be about $1.8 trillion to be added and financed. America will be selling debt of about $3.9 trillion in this year alone. Then you can add another trillion for the rest of the world. The big question is where is all this money going to come from? In the US the Fed will monetize and somehow the rest of the world will have to do something similar. All countries are seeing a fall in tax revenues, and high unemployment, which is going to make their task very difficult, and in some cases impossible. The financing of sovereign debt will be a fearful event over the next few years.
We have seen Greece’s problems over the past few months. There are 18 more countries in a similar fix. Every country wants money at only a shade above cost, which is impossible. Interestingly money on world markets has gone into bonds, yet bonds have fallen over the past year. Very little money has flowed in stocks, yet they have hit new recent highs. That is what happens when markets are manipulated.
Those nations that have been complaining about their financial plight have no one to blame but themselves. They listened to the US and UK for seven years pumping up money and credit and living la Dolce Vida, now the bill has to be paid. Greece has been irresponsible for years under socialist governments. Now they demand that what they call racist Germany, bail them out. When we did the interview in Athens two weeks ago we mentioned that Greek PM Papandreou was a Bilderberg and I was very surprised that it was not cut out of the interview. The PM demanded interest subsidies but in reality broke government have little or no bargaining power. Despite these elements of failure in the end Greece and at least 18 other countries will go bankrupt. It is the sovereign debt and the bond markets. Buyers will forego yields and eventually load up on gold as the only hedge remaining. The bond market is the most important investment in the western world and over the next few years it could well collapse under the weight of sovereign debt. Bonds are not safer than any other investment, because governments destroy the principal via inflation making the yield meaningless and those who chase higher yields, like junk bonds issued by governments, are fools. It’s preservation of capital that is important. Holding bonds becomes especially dangerous when economies falter economically. Liquidity then becomes a problem thus nations then must create ever more liquidity. In so doing they create more inflation. That is what one calls a financial treadmill. Trillions are needed to service debt that grows exponentially every minute. This is the core and nexus of today’s crisis.
A massive volcanic plume covering most of Europe forced President Obama to cancel a Sunday trip to Poland to attend the funeral of the nation’s president. But the last-minute change left an opening in his schedule, so the president headed to the links for a round of golf instead.
Rep. Judy Burges amended Senate Bill 1024 to include a requirement that Arizona’s Secretary of State inspect a presidential candidate’s birth certificate before that candidate could qualify for the ballot.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said trader Fabrice Tourre, the subject of a Securities and Exchange Commission probe, has been put on paid leave until an unspecified date, a spokesman said.
The latest Friday Night Follies:
April 17, 2010
8 Banks Close in Calif., Fla., Mass., Mich., Wash.
Filed at 12:47 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) — Regulators on Friday shut down eight banks — three in Florida, two in California, and one each in Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington — putting the number of U.S. bank failures this year at 50.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the three Florida banks: Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, with $3.4 billion in assets; First Federal Bank of North Florida in Palatka, with $393.3 million in assets; and AmericanFirst Bank in Clermont, with assets of $90.5 million.
TD Bank Financial Group, a division of Canada’s TD Bank, agreed to acquire the deposits and nearly all the assets of the three Florida banks.
The FDIC also seized Innovative Bank, based in Oakland, Calif., with about $269 million in assets; Tamalpais Bank of San Rafael, Calif., with about $629 million in assets; City Bank, based in Lynnwood, Wash., with about $1.1 billion in assets; Butler Bank in Lowell, Mass., with $268 million in assets; and Lakeside Community Bank in Sterling Heights, Mich., with $53 million in assets.
Los Angeles-based Center Bank agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Innovative Bank. San Francisco-based Union Bank is acquiring the assets and deposits of Tamalpais Bank. Whidbey Island Bank, based in Coupeville, Wash., is assuming the deposits of City Bank and $704.1 million of its assets. People’s United Bank in Bridgeport, Conn., agreed to assume the assets and deposits of Butler Bank.
The FDIC couldn’t find a buyer for Lakeside Community Bank. First Michigan Bank in Troy, Mich., will take over the failed bank’s direct deposit operations for federal payments, such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits.
The failure of Riverside National Bank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $491.8 million. For the other banks, the estimated costs: First Federal Bank of North Florida, $6 million; AmericanFirst Bank, $10.5 million; Innovative Bank, $37.8 million; Tamalpais Bank, $81.1 million; City Bank, $323.4 million; Butler Bank, $22.9 million; and Lakeside Community Bank, $11.2 million.
Depositors’ money is insured up to $250,000 per account by the FDIC, which is backed by the government.
Last year, 140 banks failed in the U.S. That was the highest annual number since 1992 during the peak of the savings and loan crisis. The failures last year cost the FDIC’s insurance fund more than $30 billion.
Twenty-five banks failed in 2008 and three in 2007.
FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has predicted that the number of bank failures will peak this year and be slightly more than in 2009.
What we are talking about is all debt instruments from which you should extricate yourself soon if not immediately. Weakness and risk remains in 19 sovereign issues, as well as municipals, and those who are chasing yields in second and third world, emerging, bonds are going to end up getting their heads handed to them. Then there is Goldman Sachs and others such as Merrill Lynch, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and others who deliberately sold toxic waste as AAA, when in fact it was BBB, the difference between a 10 and a 4. Then there are all the buyers, such as European and American banks, pension funds and fiduciaries who never took the time to read the bond prospectuses. Then of course there is Paulson and others who shorted these dreadful products. Lots of heads are going to roll and they should. You are about to see a bond crisis unfold over the next few years that will have terrible effects on balance sheets and on investors as well. Diversity won’t help. If you are in bond funds, get out now.
This is another reason why the creation of money and credit cannot end, unless central banks want to deliberately create a deflationary depression. As Richard Russell says just look at that head and shoulders on the US ten-year note, that has been forming for two years. This configuration is telling us some fierce inflation lies ahead. The horrible situation cannot be contained any more than can the severe suppression of gold and silver related assets on the one hand, and the world’s stock markets on the other. The markets are bigger than the Fed or any group of central banks working in concert. That is why gold and silver assets are the only protection you have, your only insurance against catastrophe. Bonds like most all other asserts, as we have been telling you for a long time, could fall 60 to 90 percent in value. All you have to do is look at what happened in the 1930s, and the situation today is 10 times worse than during the great depression. There has never been in history when the profligate creation of money and credit has happened, that the outcome has been any different.
Just the opposite is happening in gold. As we pointed out previously gold is in a reverse head and shoulders, the most powerful of all chart patterns. The current mini-correction will only set a stronger long-term support level between $1,050 and $1,120. This is orderly, normal, bull market that is taking longer to develop, due to the interference and manipulation by the US government and the Federal Reserve. Just remember, they have been suppressing gold and silver since 1988 and the price has still risen from $512 to $1,224.
Scandals continue to erupt everywhere. Who knows how many other brokerage houses and banks were engaged in fraudulent activities. This comes at a time from our viewpoint that the world’s stock markets are way over priced, and continued disclosures, such as at the end of last week, that the SEC knew about Stanford for years, tells us that the SEC will aggressively try to bury Goldman to bring back credibility to the agency, but they won’t go criminal, only civil to cover up what is really going on. At the same time Wall Street and banking are howling about possible legislation to change the rules, under the guise of Financial Reform. The legislation in reality protects the big players with a bigger too big to fail package and eventual nationalization of banks, under a quasi-government – corporate alliance. Just as we saw in Italy and Germany under fascism in the 1930s. That means perpetual bailouts for the rich Illuminists, under the moving force of retiring Senator Dodd, who has been and will continue to be well paid off. Losses will continue and the public will continue to pick up the bills. The well paid off members of the Senate and the House will continue to only see to it that the bankers and Wall Street are protected. They could care less about their constituents or their country. Profits will continue to be privatized and losses heaped on the public. You are seeing the financial and economic death of a nation because they believed this entire scam and didn’t pay attention.
The demise of our financial system as we have known it for some years is well underway. In time markets and economies will collapse because fascism and all other types of socialism do not work. Those at the top will again lose everything, as has happened over and over again across the centuries. This time they have no place to hide and retribution will be swift and nasty and they know it. No one knows, nor will know, the value of anything until they discover that gold is the only real money that owes nothing to anyone. All but one currency, the euro, has no gold back, or backing of any kind.
We are still in the inflationary depression stage that began in February of 2009, and that probably will continue for two or more years. Once this phase ends deflationary depression begins. That will make the inflationary phase look like a walk in the park.
As this unfolds our government exerts more and more control over the American people via tax increases and medical “reform” legislation. The public will be squeezed more than ever, and their standard of living will continue to collapse, as we might add, as Illuminists grow richer and more powerful. There will be in the future an attempt by those controlling government to seize total power and when that happens all hell could break loose, not only in America but worldwide as well. It will be a dreadful experience.
Goldman Sachs may owe British taxpayers $841 million via the takeover of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Goldman who used taxpayers’ funds to make fantastic profits will pay $5 billion in pay and bonuses, obviously on inside information. Could it be that these crooks are going to distribute their ill-gotten gains before defrauded investors can lay claim to the largess? The CEO of Goldman is Lloyd Blankfein, who says he is doing God’s work. Warren buffet, who’s firm Berkshire Hathaway paid a fine of $100 million in a $300 million civil fraud case, is a large owner in Goldman shares. Fabrice Tourre, a Goldman VP, has had a civil fraud complaint leveled against him by the SEC. As we say, “birds of a feather flock together.”
The government’s Inspector General said Friday that he knew about the Allen Stanford scam for ten years. Like in the case of Madof, which was a CIA scam and the SEC was told to stay out of the affair.
Bank of America wants to give struggling mortgage customers who are collecting unemployment benefits up to nine months with no mortgage payment.
That’s right. Zero payment. Customers would have to agree that, if they haven’t found a job within the nine months, they will sign over their house to the bank. The Charlotte bank would give them at least $2,000 to help with moving expenses.
The proposal needs regulatory approval, and the bank doesn’t know when, or if, that will happen.
Some experts say the plan could become an industry model and is the most substantial, creative approach yet to addressing the fallout from stubbornly high unemployment, which is driving mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures.
The plan also could provide families with faster relief, allow them to save money and provide a timetable for making decisions. The bank could avoid millions in collection and foreclosure expenses.
“It’s an innovative way for Bank of America to demonstrate it’s working with its customers,” said Mark Williams, a former Federal Reserve bank examiner. “Regulators should view this as a positive step as well.”
Charles Schwab Corp. said it agreed to pay $200 million to settle claims that it misled investors on the amount of mortgage-backed securities held by its Schwab YieldPlus Fund.
Schwab signed a memorandum of understanding to settle the claims filed in 2008 by paying the $200 million to plaintiffs, without admitting liability and avoiding trial, the San Francisco-based company said today in a statement. The settlement agreement cuts first-quarter net income by $105 million, or 9 cents a share, bringing the company’s net income reported last week down to $14 million, or 1 cent per share.
The lawsuit alleged that Schwab incorrectly described the fund, once the world’s largest short-term bond fund, as “safe.” The plaintiffs sought damages of as much as $802 million, the estimate of losses made by their lawyers’ experts. A trial was scheduled for May.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., facing a fraud lawsuit from U.S. regulators, reported first-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts’ estimates on record fixed- income trading revenue.
Net income almost doubled to $3.46 billion, or $5.59 a share, from $1.81 billion, or $3.39, a year earlier, the New York-based bank said today in a statement. The average estimate of 23 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for $4.14 per share. Predictions ranged from $3.33 to $5.97.
The results showed Goldman Sachs maintained its dominance in fixed-income trading, the biggest source of Wall Street’s revenue. Chief Executive Officer Lloyd Blankfein is trying to preserve the bank’s place as the most profitable investment bank in Wall Street history while defending it against regulators’ claims that the company misled investors in 2007.
Goldman Sachs has been drawn into a fresh controversy as lawyers demand to know whether it was partly responsible for triggering Lehman Brothers’ downfall by shorting its rival’s shares.
The Wall Street behemoth is already being investigated by a number of financial regulators around the world in addition to the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud charges over derivatives mis-selling. It has now been named in a court filing seeking information about short-selling Lehman shares.
Goldman has been subpoenaed to hand over documents to Lehman’s Bryan Marsal, the man responsible for winding up the bank’s affairs and repaying creditors. Goldman was named in the court filing along with four other firms, including hedge funds SAC Capital and Citadel. Goldman declined to comment on the Lehman case.
In a further potential legal case, it emerged that AIG is considering suing Goldman over about $2bn (£1.3bn) of losses it incurred from past derivatives instruments. The troubled insurer is understood to be considering action as a result of protection it was forced to pay to buyers of credit-default swaps when collateralised debt obligations (CDOs) in Goldman’s Abacus programme lost their value.
The new worries came as Goldman hit back against the SEC’s charges, which it said are “completely unfounded both in law and fact”.
Questions were last night being asked as to why the bank had not publicly disclosed the regulator’s probe. It is understood Goldman was first contacted by the US financial watchdog over its examination of mis-selling in the mortgage-backed securities industry two years ago, and that it received what is known as a “Wells Notice” – an intention to file charges – as early as July last year.
Goldman has filed 8m documents with the SEC in relation to the investigation, and five of its staff were interviewed as part of an exchange which saw the bank attempt to defend its point of view. Lloyd Blankfein, the bank’s chairman, has been attempting to boost staff morale ahead of today’s first-quarter results, which are expected to show a profit of as much as $3.8bn. “The extensive media coverage on the SEC’s complaint is certainly uncomfortable, but given the anger directed at financial services, not completely surprising,” he said in one voicemail left on an employee’s phone.
Fabrice Tourre, the bond trader at the heart of the SEC’s probe, has begun an undetermined period of absence. The bank maintained that while he has done “nothing wrong” and remains an employee, he had made a “personal decision to take a bit of time off”.
President Barack Obama is to make a landmark speech on financial regulatory reform which is expected to draw on Goldman’s current problems.
Both BaFin, the German regulator, and the European Union are looking into the situation.
U.S. insurer AIG is considering pursuing investment bank Goldman Sachs over losses incurred on $6.0 billion of insurance deals on mortgage-backed securities, the Financial Times said.
Quoting people close to the situation, the newspaper said the securities were similar to those that prompted U.S. regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to file civil fraud charges against Goldman on Friday.
The FT said government-controlled AIG, which made a loss of about $2.0 billion over the deals, was reviewing transactions to insure $6.0 billion-worth of collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) issued by Goldman in the run-up to the financial crisis. But it added AIG had yet to decide whether to take action.
The SEC’s complaint is focusing on one of a family of securities known as Abacus. It accuses Goldman of falsely representing to investors that Paulson & Co, a hedge fund, would buy into the security when Paulson really wanted to bet against it — and had influenced the selection of loans that went into the security.
If AIG and other companies discover that their transactions had disclosure issues similar to those alleged in the SEC charges, they would be able to complain to the SEC, file a private lawsuit or both, the newspaper added.
Goldman Sachs: Master of the Universe – by Stephen Lendman
The status applies to all Wall Street giants, none, however, the equal of Goldman, the Grand Master. Like the fabled comic book Superman hero, it’s:
Former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Richard S. Fuld Jr. plans to tell lawmakers Tuesday that regulators knew everything that was going on inside Lehman “in real time” as it neared bankruptcy, an allegation that will pit him against others testifying with him in Washington.
Tuesday’s showdown with the House Committee on Financial Services will mark the first time Mr. Fuld has spoken publicly since a bankruptcy examiner released a stunning report on Lehman’s collapse that raised the specter that executives, including Mr. Fuld, intentionally misled investors to mask huge losses in areas such as commercial real estate.
Mish: Goldman is nothing more than a giant hedge fund that front runs trades and bets against advice it gives clients, with one important exception. Goldman is a bank holding company deemed “too big to fail” with the explicit backing of the Fed.
The SEC’s charges against Goldman are already stirring up investors who lost big on the CDOs, according to well-known plaintiffs lawyer Jake Zamansky.
“I’ve been contacted by Goldman customers to bring lawsuits to recover their losses,” Zamansky said.
“It’s going to go way beyond ABACUS. Regulators and plaintiffs’ lawyers are going to be looking at other deals, to what kind of conflicts Goldman has.”
An investigation by the online site ProPublica into Chicago-based hedge fund Magnetar’s 2007 bets against CDO-related debt also turned up allegations of conflicts of interest against Deutsche Bank,
Merrill and JPMorgan Chase. Magnetar has denied any wrongcomment. Merrill and JPMorgan had no immediate comment.
Germany may take legal action against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said today by phone. Germany’s Bafin financExchange Commission for information on the Goldman case Investment giant Goldman Sachs & Co., facing federal charges of defrauding investors in selling them packages of risky mortgages, also could be investigated in Connecticut. “There may well be a factual and legal basis to consider state investigation and my office has begun a preliminary review,” said state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
FSA probe into Goldman Sachs ‘fraud’ The City watchdog is to examine the American case against the Wall Street giant as demands grow for a full inquiry
It’s reported the Goldie CDO story months ago:
The public outcry against the bank bailouts was driven in part by suspicions that a heads we win, tails you lose ethos pervades the financial industry. To many, that Goldman and others are once again minting money and paying big bonuses to their employees is evidence that Wall Street got a sweet deal at taxpayers’ expense. The accusations against Goldman may only further those suspicions.
“The S.E.C. suit against Goldman, if proven true, will confirm to people their suspicions about the total selfishness of these financial institutions,” said Steve Fraser, a Wall Street historian and author of “Wall Street: America’s Dream Palace.” “There’s nothing more damaging than that. This is way beyond recklessness. This is way beyond incompetence. This is cynical, selfish exploiting.”
Goldman said it never “bet against our clients” in its trades but rather was trying to hedge against other trading positions. A big question is how far up this might go. The S.E.C. said the deal in its complaint had been approved by a panel at Goldman, the Mortgage Capital Committee.
“It’s typical that they’d start with someone lower down on the chain and try to exert pressure on that person,” said Bradley D. Simon of Simon & Partners, a white-collar defense lawyer in New York.
“Is it really conceivable that no one else was involved in this?”
As the housing market began to fracture in 2007, senior Goldman executives began overseeing the mortgage department closely, said four former Goldman Sachs employees, who spoke on the condition they not be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
In testimony in January before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission…he [Blankfein] described Goldman’s approach to dealing with its clients: “Of course, we have an obligation to fully disclose what an instrument is and to be honest in our dealings, but we are not managing somebody else’s money.”
What will Buffet do with Goldman? When the Salomon Treasury Auction rigging scandal broke, didn’t Warren demand and get some heads? Isn’t it funny how Bubblevision avoided the mention of Buffet and Goldman during their coverage on Friday?
Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen Boerenleenbank BA, known as Rabobank, claims Merrill, now a unit of Bank of America Corp., failed to tell it a key fact in advising on a synthetic collateralized debt obligation.
Omitted was Merrill’s relationship with another client betting against the investment, which resulted in a loss of $45 million, Rabobank claims
Goldman faces a dilemma of biblical proportions. This week the Street expects Goldie to report Q1 profits that could reach $4B. Can you imagine the opprobrium that will ensue any Goldie report of great earnings? Go ahead, Lloyd; report huge earnings and remind us that Goldie is doing God’s work.
In 2004, Paolo Pellegrini was out of a job, living in a one-bedroom apartment in Westchester County, N.Y., with little money in the bank. He soon managed to land a gig working for hedge-fund manager John Paulson.
Today, after helping Paulson & Co. score $20 billion with a bet against housing and pocketing about $175 million for himself, Mr. Pellegrini is an unnamed but key character in the government’s lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
The politicizing of L’Affair Goldman was immediate. Zero Hedge: House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement after the U.S. Securities & Exchanges Commission (SEC) announced it was charging Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs which has been supportive of President Obama’s bill to create a permanent bailout fund with defrauding investors:
“These are very serious charges against a key supporter of President Obama’s bill to create a permanent Wall Street bailout fund. Despite President Obama’s rhetoric, his permanent bailout bill gives Goldman Sachs and other big Wall Street banks a permanent, taxpayer-funded safety net by designating them ‘too big to fail.’ Just whose side is President Obama on?
“Instead of permanent bailouts for President Obama’s Wall Street allies, Republicans believe the best way to protect taxpayers is by reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that sparked the meltdown by giving high-risk loans to people who couldn’t afford it.”
President Obama and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) are pushing a bill would reward the firm with potentially billions of dollars by instituting a so-called “resolution authority” that would, in practice, be a permanent bailout fund, Supporters of Dodd’s bill maintain that it does not create bailouts because the failing firm’s shareholders would be wiped out and its managers would be fired. But what they don’t say is that the money from the $50 billion resolution fund deal than they would have in bankruptcy.
The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to propose the creation of a large trader reporting system that would enhance its ability to identify large market participants, collect information on their trades, and analyze their trading activity.
The SEC is proposing that large traders be required to identify themselves to the Commission, which would then assign each trader a unique identification number. Large traders would provide this number to their broker-dealers, who would be required to maintain transaction records for each large trader and report that information to the SEC upon request
A leading US Senator has gained White House backing for her proposals which would require investment banks to divest the parts of their business dealing in risky derivatives such as the collateralised debt obligation (CDO) structures at the heart of the allegations against Goldman.
The senior backing for the controversial bill which has already drawn scorn from Wall Street lobbyists comes as Goldman prepares on Tuesday to report first-quarter pre-tax profits of as much as $3.8bn based on analysts’ consensus figures, in a move that is likely to further intensify the strength of public opinion against it.
Anger is again likely to be high on the agenda as the bank reveals it has set aside just under $5.5bn for pay and bonuses for the quarter, just less than 50pc of the $11.1bn in revenues Wall Street analysts expect the bank to have generated in the three months to March. [This would savage Street earnings.]